Guide: How to obtain a stable luminous colour

To an increasing extent, LED lighting replaces alternative sources of light such as halogen bulbs and traditional fluorescent tubes. But which standards should you be aware of if you work with LED? Read this week’s blog and get to know the answer.

During the past few years, LED lighting has become increasingly popular due to its longevity and low power consumption. Besides, there is almost no maintenance associated with LED compared to traditional light sources and then the colour rendering is typically higher for LED luminaires. Altogether, this contributes to the fact that the Danes prefer LED to an increasing extent.

However, you must pay attention to the various standards and regulations within the LED technology before you choose to replace your fluorescent tubes or halogen bulbs. These standards provide information about anything from lifespan to energy efficiency and, continuously, more standards are added owing to the light emitting diodes’ progress on the market. In this blog, we have an exclusive focus on standards of colour stability.

Colour stability

When working with LED lighting it is crucial to be acquainted with the different standards and to consider which of these standards that are relevant in the given situation. One of these standards is MacAdam Colour Steps, which is also known as Standard Deviation of Colour Matching (SDCM). MacAdam indicates the light source’s colour stability by measuring fluctuations in the colour temperature on a scale of 1-10. The smaller MacAdam ellipse, the harder it is for the human eye to distinguish between the different colour temperatures. The colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). A high Kelvin is equal to a cold and bluish light, whereas a low Kelvin is equal to a warmer and more yellow or orange.

Worth knowing about the different MacAdam steps

If several light sources are placed side by side, it is essential to focus on the MacAdam ellipses. Light sources with a high MacAdam have a fluctuating luminous colour, wherefore it, in some cases, might be worth going for light sources with a MacAdam in the low end of the scale.

A 1-step ellipse is the best obtainable value with regard to MacAdam Colour Steps. Typically, an incandescent bulb has a 1-step MacAdam ellipse, whereas LED luminaires can obtain a 2-step ellipse at the maximum. LED light sources with a 2-step or 3-step MacAdam ellipse are therefore as stable as possible with regard to the luminous colour of LED. At this level, it is therefore hard, if not impossible, to tell the luminous colour apart.

At hospitals and in operating rooms there is a need for optimal conditions with reference to luminous colour and colour rendering. This is the case for museums, galleries, hotels, shops, etc. as well, wherefore it is crucial for the light sources installed in these places to have a low MacAdam.

When the amount of MacAdam ellipses increases, fluctuations increase as well. However, this is not always of importance. For example, there are more rigorous demands for a low MacAdam indoor than outdoor. Indoor a 1 to 3-step MacAdam ellipse is recommended, whereas a 5-step ellipse might be sufficient for outdoor use.

What is the reason for a fluctuating luminous colour?

Some light sources emit a more unstable luminous colour than others and this can be owing to different reasons. First, the construction, as well as the quality of the materials used for the construction, are of great importance for the final quality of the product and for how stable the luminous colour becomes. Apart from that, the luminous colour is affected by the LED luminaire’s surroundings. If the luminaire is installed outdoor, it is exposed to all weathers, which can contribute to reducing the luminous stability over time. In addition, environments with high temperatures can affect the luminaire’s luminous colour.

Want to know more?

Are you still not sure about what level of MacAdam you should go for, or if MacAdam is even relevant for your project at all? Then contact us today. Our LED experts are ready to help you.

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